On June 26th, 2015, over five hundred people attended the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest in Petaluma, California. Most of the twenty-seven canine contestants were former shelter dogs, raising awareness of the need for "furever" homes (one of the benefits of this competition). The winning pooch, Quasi Modo, received a check for $1500, and will soon be whisked off to New York on a media tour followed by a makeover on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

This is all very well and good - and congrats, Quasi - but here at Bigstock we don't believe there is such a thing as an ugly dog. We believe in finding the beauty in every beast. So, without further ado, we proudly present the most "non-traditionally gorgeous" dogs in our royalty-free photo collection. Enjoy.

1. MIXED BREED CHINESE CRESTED DOG AND FRENCH BULLDOG

 

2. DANDIE DINMONT

 

3. CHINESE CRESTED DOG

 

4. CAUCASIAN SHEPHERD DOG

 

5. GRIFFIN BRUXELLOIS

Griffin Bruxellois by Life on White

Griffin Bruxellois by Life on White

 

6. MEXICAN XOLOITZCUINTLE

 

8. ITALIAN GREYHOUND

 

8. MIXED BREED

 

9. BEDDINGTON TERRIER

Want to see more bone-chomping beauties? Check out our lightbox (below) filled with royalty-free photos of dogs and pups that really put the "wow" in bow wow. And, if you're new to Bigstock, sign up for a 7-day Free Trial of one of our image subscriptions, giving you access to over 25 million images for your projects. Happy downloading. 

Header image by Bigstock contributor Willee Cole

Posted
AuthorBrian Masefield
CategoriesGalleries
Screenshot of image of sketches on Shutterstock napkins.

Can you sketch? Can you draw? Can you doodle? Would you like to go to Cannes Lions? If you answered "kinda sorta" to any of those questions, we have a very cool contest for you to enter.

Our friends at Shutterstock are inviting any and all creative professionals to enter their #ShutterstockSketch contest. All you have to do to enter is to submit a sketch on their site and share it socially for some love. 

How to enter for a chance to win:

  • Sketch what you love on their #ShutterstockSketch site (or on a cocktail napkin at one of our upcoming events)
  • Share your finished product on your Twitter and/or Instagram feeds with the hashtag #ShutterstockSketch
  • Follow @Shutterstock with your publicly-accessible account

The grand prize consists of two round-trip economy air tickets to Nice, France, one-week hotel accommodations, and two 7-day Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity passes.

Contestants can submit sketches now through 11:59 PM ET on October 30, 2015. Winner will be announced in November. Good luck!


Posted
AuthorBrian Masefield

Bigstock's free image triggered a memory in her from a few years back. She remembered that spring day at a market in Pennsylvania. Among the stands of shoo-fly pies and ornate pieces of wood furniture, she came across a straw hat. She tried it on, and did her best to look at herself in the screen of her phone. She began to wonder if she could make it in this different world; an insular world of full sleeves, long skirts, and limited technology.  

Now, back in her room, she packed away her laptop, tablet, and chargers. She then quickly checked her calendar for the day's meetings, all of which required her attendance. The idea that she herself was now living in a world with its own confines did not slip by her. She went into her closet, grabbed the straw hat and put it on. She then tipped the brim, gave herself a smile in the mirror, and headed out into the city streets.

Let this week's free image breathe new life into your summer projects. The photo comes to us from Bigstock contributor AardLumens, from a collection that includes royalty-free photos of frozen branches, frogs, and cool rock formations.

The image - The Straw Hat - will be available for free downloading until 11:59PM EST, Sunday July 5th, 2015.

If you're new to Bigstock, get your first week of a monthly subscription for free - with our 7-day Free Trial. Happy downloading.

Posted
AuthorBrian Masefield

A photo exhibit can be the perfect starting point for adding a twist on your own photography, encouraging you to experiment with new techniques, and maybe learn more about an artist and his/her process. In our curiosity to learn more and expose ourselves to all of the creativity within walking distance, we couldn't help but turn to our very own New York City for inspiration. This place is crawling with humans and events, 24/7, so surely there's some inspiration to be found. 

Below, you'll find six photo exhibits that are either already running, or about to begin, with end dates throughout the summer and into the Fall. Plan accordingly.

1. APERTURE: PHOTOGRAPHS
June 29 - September 18
1285 Avenue of the Americas Art Gallery

This event tells the story of Aperture, a not-for-profit foundation which connects the photo community together with audiences, showcasing inspiring and talented works. The exhibition extends through the summer, highlighting works from its collection that span over 50 years.

 

 

2. LEON BORENSZTEIN: AMERICAN PORTRAITS
Through July 26
Foley Gallery, 59 Orchard Street

View a collection of portraits that span over the course of 10 years (1979-1989) by photographer Leon Borensztein. Each of the subjects were asked not to smile, in an effort to move away from the instructions he received daily at his regular job as a traveling portrait photographer in San Francisco.

This encouraged his photography to take a black-and-white, more realistic vision. 

 

 

 

3. PAOLO PELLIZZARI: SPORT
Through August 31
Anastasia Photo, 143 Ludlow Street

Pellizzari's work depicts the human landscape in a way that overflows with details and colors, in an effort to capture daily life - and more - within unique and detailed landscapes.

For this show in particular, viewers can see a variety of photographs that capture humans truly engaged in daily life. Whether it's actually in a sporty manner or not, the viewer will be the judge. 

 

 

4. SALLY DAVIES
Through July 17
Bernarducci Meisel Gallery, 37 West 57 Street

For anyone who needs their NYC nostalgia fix, Davies' work highlights the present day in a way that makes it feel like the city that "it used to be."

From bars to street corners, bright neon signs to dark shadows, Davies' work gives recurring reminders of the magical capabilities this city has.

 

5. LINDSAY MORRIS: YOU ARE YOU
July 9 - August 21
Clampart, 531 West 25th Street, Ground Floor

Morris' first show in New York City documents the safe haven that is an annual weekend summer camp for gender-nonconforming children and their families. In 2012, parents and children of the camp agreed to have selected images published as a New York Times Magazine article.

This now annual series aims to reach beyond the confines of the camp and add to a conversation about the role that support plays in the lives of children who are gender-nonconforming.
 

 

6. GAIL ALBERT-HALABAN: VIS-Á-VIS
Through July 10
Edwynn Houk Gallery, 745 Fifth Avenue

For the voyeurs or appreciators of Parisian architecture and life, Albert-Halaban's exhibit at the Edwynn Houk Gallery is sheer perfection. It makes us wish we could have the same thing for every major city.

The photographer is an active participant here, in that he stages the entire scene with participants who know they are being photographed. It's all real, but there's still a slight performance aspect to it. Either way, we love it. 

 
 
Posted
AuthorAshley Hefnawy
CategoriesFun Friday

Running an effective email marketing program is much more than just sending out an email blast once a month to your subscribers. Email marketing is a nuanced marketing channel, and understanding the rules for using effective images in your emails can go a long way towards generating ROI (Return On Investment). 

Consider these numbers:

Convinced? Good. Here are some rules for using images to create traffic- and revenue-generating emails:

1. USE CONCENTRATED COLOR

Marketers think a lot about how to use color within a product or website. These color rules also apply to email and other marketing channels. The psychology of color is especially important in email, where users spend a matter of seconds looking at the content before deciding whether to click or delete.

Too much color within such a confined space will make your email feel cluttered and unfocused. But a well-placed punch of a concentrated hue will guide a user's eye to primary messaging or a strong call to action. Below are some examples of images that follow the best practices for color usage (in this case, red):

"Back To School" image | HalfPoint

"Back To School" image | HalfPoint

"Happiness & Holidays" image | dolgachov

"Happiness & Holidays" image | dolgachov

2. SIZE MATTERS

One of the more tempting email tactics is creating a fully image-based email design. Without the hassle of worrying about web-based fonts or in-line CSS (Cascading Style Sheet), the allure of image-only emails is pretty clear. But without any HTML text to parse, mail servers are much more likely to mark these messages as spam.

To avoid the dreaded spam folder, use moderately-sized images as accent pieces within an overall design that combines plain text with visual content.

3. DEVELOP WITH CARE

Even when an email finds its way into a user's inbox, there's no guarantee that the images within that email will display correctly. Gmail updated its platform to automatically download and display images to users on the desktop and mobile apps. Unfortunately, other email clients haven't caught up. Some or all of the images in your email may be blocked by email clients unless a user manually clicks to allow them.

Plan ahead for problems, and make sure that the small percentage of users who don't receive your images instead have a solid color background or some great alt text as a replacement. For users who do load images, use absolute links to images hosted on a reliable server to ensure there won't be any broken link issues.

4. FIND THE RIGHT TYPE

Don't fall prey to simply tossing a handful of JPGs into a freshly-minted email layout. The type of image file you choose can have major implications in the campaign performance and "viewability" for end users. When creating images for your campaigns, here are some quick guidelines to help you choose the correct format:

  • JPG: Best choice for photos
  • PNG: Best choice for line art, logos, or images with transparency
  • GIF: Best for flat graphics, or images with few colors and simple lines
"Laptop with Mail Icon" image | korinoxe

"Laptop with Mail Icon" image | korinoxe

5. READ THE FINE PRINT

Determining if it's okay to use licensed images can be tricky work, but it's even more difficult for companies to set aside their own time and resources to art direct enough imagery for an entire email campaign. Stock photo websites like Bigstock and Shutterstock each have clear guidelines that allow you to use the licensed images you purchase in opt-in email campaigns. If you're buying or sourcing images from anywhere else, be sure to read the fine print to make sure that you are legally allowed to use the image in an email campaign.

6. MAKE IT MOBILE

At the end of 2013, mobile became the most common way users access their email, surpassing desktop apps and webmail. And the momentum isn't slowing down. By 2018, 80% of email users will access their email accounts from mobile devices. Thinking about mobile optimization is now pretty much required for large brands and small businesses alike.

Designing emails for mobile viewing means rethinking everything from font size (14px minimum on body copy), to incorporating "finger-sized" buttons for easier clicking. Mobile friendliness applies to the images you're using, too. Pictures that look beautiful on large-screen monitors will likely feel crowded or dense on a mobile device. Aim for email imagery with a single, clear subject that can be easily understood - even at smaller sizes.

While desktop apps will typically display email files as large as 100KB without clipping your message, mobile apps have a much lower threshold. To ensure your full email is delivered, keep the file size under 20KB, including your images. This frequently means crafting a more concise email and removing any unnecessary styling from the code.

AND FURTHERMORE ... 

These tips only scratch the surface of all there is to know and learn about email marketing. For more information on using images to craft strong campaigns, take a look at these great resources:

About the Author: Ashley Kemper is a marketing strategist who spends her free time traveling and pursuing hobbies in photography, web design, and blogging. Follow her on Twitter @theashleykemper.

Posted
AuthorAshley Kemper
CategoriesTutorials

Bigstock's free image of the week sent his mind in a tizzy. A mystery and an inspiration in one, he thought. For he had never tried tangerine cake before, and wondered what that combination of sweet and sour would taste like. But what puzzled him most about the free image was the pair of forks that rested beside the cake board. He thought about how inappropriate it would be for two individuals to attack a tangerine cake with forks, with no napkins in sight. "People that foolhardy must surely be crazy ... or in love," he reckoned.

He then began to think back to a time when he too was crazy in love. A time when he and his beloved were considered an interesting combination. A time when he let only his hunger for her companionship guide him. A time when there was never enough powdered sugar to sprinkle on his palpable happiness.

Let this week's free image - The Tangerine Cake - provide some baked-in greatness to your foodie marketing endeavors. The photo comes to us from Bigstock contributor okkijan, from a collection that also includes royalty-free images of horses, cows, and colorful tablescapes. Happy downloading.

The image will be available for free downloading until 11:59PM EST, Sunday June 28, 2015.

Posted
AuthorBrian Masefield

When you think about it, the hipster dad, as a concept, makes a lot of sense. The relaxed plaid shirt provides camouflage for baby stains of all sorts. The beard saves oodles of face-shaving time, time that can be better spent changing diapers and helping the kiddos with homework. Here at Bigstock, we felt it was high time hipster dads get a Father's Day shout out.

Please Note: Father's Day is this Sunday. To celebrate, we compiled these inspired royalty-free Father's Day illustrations for DIY cards for your hipster dad. Each one is available for downloading. Happy Father's Day!

Father's Day beard illustration from _Lonely_

Father's Day beard illustration from _Lonely_

 
Father's Day hat by TeddyandMia.

Father's Day hat by TeddyandMia.

Father's Day tie by Betelgejze.

Father's Day tie by Betelgejze.

 
Father's Day bear illustration by Ovocheva.

Father's Day bear illustration by Ovocheva.

 
Father with summer symbols illustration by Molesko Studio.

Father with summer symbols illustration by Molesko Studio.

 
Hipster owl illustration by AcaG.

Hipster owl illustration by AcaG.

For even more fatherly fun, check out other related images in our Hipster Dad lightbox (below), filled with even more royalty-free photos and illustrations. Happy downloading.

Posted
AuthorBrian Masefield
CategoriesGalleries

Do you want to increase the reach of your Facebook page posts without paying for advertising? If so, then you need to take advantage of the post type that gets the highest organic reach—video that is uploaded directly. In this article, we're going to look at how you can use stock video to boost the organic reach of your Facebook posts.

First, The Experiment

For four weeks, I experimented with different types of posts on Facebook to promote content. I posted three times per day around the same time, using Post Planner to schedule them. The content revolved around online marketing topics, including analytics, content, search, and social media. None of the posts were boosted, sponsored or advertised in any way. To encourage discussion, after each post was published, I added the first comment.

During the first week, I posted photos that I uploaded directly to Facebook with additional comments and a link to a corresponding piece of content.

Screenshot image of Facebook page.
 

The second week, I posted a link in the update box with additional comments and allowed Facebook to pull in the link details without editing them.

Screenshot of Facebook post.
 
Screenshot image of Facebook post with link.

In the third week, I posted text with a link to a piece of content. I removed the link preview that Facebook automatically added.

 

 

 

The fourth week, I posted a stock video uploaded directly to Facebook with additional comments and a link to a suitable of piece of content.

Screenshot of Facebook post with video.
 

When sorting the posts by the most consumptions, 18 out of the top 30 were video. Facebook defines post consumption as the number of times people click anywhere within your Facebook post, such as the link, media, or like, share, or comment buttons.

Screenshot image of Facebook metrics.

To summarize, posts with video that is uploaded directly to Facebook are more likely to have the highest organic reach and clicks over text, link, and photo posts. So, if you want to get more reach and engagement for your Facebook posts, you will want to start using video.

 

How to Use Stock Video to Get Results

As long as Facebook continues to give directly uploaded video an edge in organic reach, you should use it to help your Facebook posts reach more of your fans. For those who don't want to create a video each time they make a post like this, stock video is a great choice.

The key is to look for stock video that is representative of what you want to post on your Facebook page. For example, when I posted content about analytics or data, I would search for videos with the keyword “data.”

Screenshot image of Bigstock search page for "data." 

If you want to post something to your page about ways to be happy, you do a search for videos with the keyword “happiness.”

Screenshot of Bigstock search page for "happiness."

You won't always find a stock video that is an exact keyword match, especially if your keyword is specific, like “LinkedIn.” So you will have to experiment with different or conceptual keyword searches to find the best representation for your posts.

Once you find a great video, download it, rename it to match the keywords for your Facebook post, and upload it directly to Facebook.

 

You can do this by going to your update box and clicking on the Photo/Video tab and then selecting the Upload Photos/Videos option.

Screenshot image of Facebook's photo upload page.
 
Screenshot of Post Planner.

You can also do this using tools like Post Planner, which is what I used to conduct this experiment.

You can create a schedule of when you would like posts to be published to your page and simply schedule posts that include a video attachment that will be directly uploaded to Facebook.

 

You don't want to use video with every single post that you publish to your Facebook page. You do, however, want to use it for the messages that are the most important to ensure they reach more of your fans.

You can also use video to promote a message in multiple ways. For example, if you have a great blog post that you want your audience to read, you can share it over the course of a couple of days using different post types. One day, share it as a link post. The next, share it with a photo. Then share it with a stock video.

In addition to ensuring that your post reaches the most people possible, it will also allow you to continue to monitor your Facebook Insights to make sure that video is still producing the best organic reach.

Summing It Up

Experiment with this strategy on your Facebook page today by incorporating stock video into your posts. This will allow you to enjoy the organic reach benefits of directly uploaded video on Facebook without having to create a video yourself. Good luck! 

Posted
AuthorKristi Hines
CategoriesTutorials
Photo of blurred abstract image.

As Bigstock's free image downloaded, he remembered that day at the county fair. The cotton candy, the funnel cake, the way the merry-go-round ticket stuck to the condensation of his soda pop. And, he remembered the moment he saw her. 

She was sitting two horses ahead as the carousel began to move. Around and around they went in a beautiful blur, happily perched on their respective plastic steeds: his green, hers orange. Though the colors were wildly unnatural for horses, what he was feeling for her was real. He was intoxicated by this woman of mystery. The way her brown hair blew in the summer breeze. The way the tag of her shirt peeped up with each vertical movement of her horse. The way she missed catching the popcorn pieces that she playfully tossed in the air.

When the ride stopped, she was gone with the wind. The summer breeze that had once intoxicated him with the sweet smell of her, had now betrayed him. He would never forget the image of her though, sitting on that fake orange stallion. And he would spend the rest of his days searching and searching for the back of that brown-haired head that had captured his heart. (Cue music.)

Let this week's free image - The Way We Blur - add some enchantment to your marketing endeavors. The image comes to us from Bigstock contributor Keattipong, from a collection that also includes royalty-free images of sunsets, tulips, and Thailand. Happy downloading. 

The image will be available for free downloading till 11:59PM EST, Sunday June 21st, 2015.

Posted
AuthorBrian Masefield

It's no coincidence that summer not only brings swimsuit season, but also a burning desire for people to start "eating a little better." Vegetable stands, CSA groups, and juice cleanses are all around us lately, promising us big healthy benefits and small firm waistlines. And, what better way to market vegetables for the masses than by using the vegetables themselves?

For all of you marketers out there - and even those that just like playing with their food - we happily present some of our favorite vegetable fonts and letters. Each image used in this post is royalty-free, so download away. It's good for you.

Photo "Best Seller" red peppers by velirina.

Photo "Best Seller" red peppers by velirina.

 
Photo "RAW" of asparagus by pashapixel.

Photo "RAW" of asparagus by pashapixel.

 
Photo "Kidney Bean Capital Letters" by icefront.

Photo "Kidney Bean Capital Letters" by icefront.

 
Photos "Green Lettuce Alphabet" by ikopylov.

Photos "Green Lettuce Alphabet" by ikopylov.

 
Photo "Corn Corn" by Melica73.

Photo "Corn Corn" by Melica73.

 
Photo "Diet Vegetables" by dziewul.

Photo "Diet Vegetables" by dziewul.

For more fun vegetable fonts, be sure to check out our curated collection below, filled with fun royalty-free illustrations and photos. Happy downloading.

Posted
AuthorBrian Masefield
CategoriesFun Friday